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Easiest way to Clean Bottles??

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Oahu

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What is the easiest/fastest way to clean a bunch of bottles? I initially thought the dishwasher was going to do it for me but now that I hear about the necessity of bottles being "beer clean" I realize I need an alternative method.

Thanks in advance
 

Sasquatch

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Oahu, I recently inherited a pile of Grolsh-type bottles, from a winemaker, and they were all full of winey grime. What worked best was to put about a teaspoon of dishwashing machine powder in each, and fill them with hot water. All the sludge came off.

Then the question is whether there is a residue of dishwasher soap on the bottles. I rinsed and soaked them again with a bit of TSP. They now seem residue free, and totally clean. Still have to sanitize before bottling, of course.
 
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Oahu

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[stupid question alert!]

Sounds Snazzy. One question: what is TSP?

Thanks for the help.
 

uglygoat

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and once you get the bottles clean, the easiest way to keep them so is to rinse them after you pour, and drop them in a bucket of bleach water or sanitizing solution, just let em soak untill you need them, then you can rinse them and they will be ready to go...

it's best not to let the gunk sit in there for any length of time, though moldy bottles can be salvaged...

i found a case of empties that i had not rinsed out and they were covered in mold and nasty slime and it took way longer to get cleaned...
 

homebrewer_99

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I second those rinse and dry comments - I use a drying tree.

When I get enough bottles I soak them all in bleach water, remove from the sink and place on the tree UNRINSED.

Once they are dry I remove them from the rack and place a square (4X4) of aluminum foil over the top and set them in their cases. Ive read that these will stay sanitized from in excess of 12 months. When you get ready to use them just rinse with hot water.

This also lets me know (by sight) which bottles are ready to use.
 

Sasquatch

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Oahu, TSP is trisodium phosphate, a mean-ass cleaner you can get almost anywhere, including most grocery stores, paint supply stores, hardware stores etc. It's just soap with a helluva bad attitude.

The chlorine soak suggestions are very similar in function, save that bleach also sanitizes whereas tsp doesn't.

I'm a fan of wet-clean. Anything that gets dried has spent too long in the air, or has touched something dirty.
 

SpinDance

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OK, I'll bite. Why isn't dishwasher clean enough? I'm careful to clean my bottles as soon as I get them, first rinsing them before whatever is in them can turn to dried gunk, then running them through the dishwasher so they'll be clean for storage. Any bottles that I find have stuff left in them I soak in some cleaner until it comes out, then run them through the dishwasher again. I store the bottles upside-down.

When I'm ready to bottle I run the bottles through the dishwasher again. We keep our water heater really hot. Like hot enough to wash wool, hot enough to burn you if you aren't careful. I've been bottling as soon as the bottles cool enough to use, right out of the dishwasher.

How can sanitation in the dishwasher be OK for other things, but not beer?

Thanks in advance,
SpinDance, the always curious, who is hoping she won't have to get a drying rack
 

bikebryan

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SpinDance said:
OK, I'll bite. Why isn't dishwasher clean enough? I'm careful to clean my bottles as soon as I get them, first rinsing them before whatever is in them can turn to dried gunk, then running them through the dishwasher so they'll be clean for storage. Any bottles that I find have stuff left in them I soak in some cleaner until it comes out, then run them through the dishwasher again. I store the bottles upside-down.

When I'm ready to bottle I run the bottles through the dishwasher again. We keep our water heater really hot. Like hot enough to wash wool, hot enough to burn you if you aren't careful. I've been bottling as soon as the bottles cool enough to use, right out of the dishwasher.

How can sanitation in the dishwasher be OK for other things, but not beer?

Thanks in advance,
SpinDance, the always curious, who is hoping she won't have to get a drying rack
Your regular dish washing, in a home dishwasher, really doesn't sanitize your dishes. Any sanitization of them comes from the detergent; hot water helps the detergent work better. Dishwashers used in industrial settings usually used pressurized steam to accomplish their work, and most homes don't have a pressurized steam line in them!

Dishwashers also don't work well for cleaning bottles, as the shape of most bottles prevent the water stream from getting up inside all of the bottle.

I just rinse my bottles as I use them with hot water and let them drip dry on my bottle tree. I sanitize 16 at a time in my bottling bucket full of iodophor, then let them drip for a bit on the tree. I can easily sanitize two cases of bottles in less time than my dishwasher can cycle, saving me time. It also give me peace of mind since I KNOW that the bottle was completely coated with sanitizer.
 

Dude

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SpinDance said:
How can sanitation in the dishwasher be OK for other things, but not beer?

It IS okay to use a dishwasher for sanitization if your water gets above 165°.
You don't need steam, you don't need a special sanitizing solution. Only 165° water.
 

SwAMi75

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I always thought it was the long, hot drying cycle that actually sanitized things, despite your water temp?

You can't depend on your dishwasher to thoroughly clean the gunk out of your bottles. Make sure you rinse them well after use, to prevent mold buildup, or get after them with a brush if they're dirsty beforehand. As long as they're free of residue going into the dishwasher, they should come out good to go.

This is how I've always done it, and it's worked like a charm.
 

brewhead

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i keep a rubbermaid tub (damn i use a lot of rubbermaid tubs ... hmm can't wait until the barn is outfitted with running water) anyways ..a rubbermaid tub filled with a strong bleach/water solution. i put my empties in there and snap the lid closed until i need them. if nasties can grow in that solution - then i wanna bottle it and sell it to science. then i take a hose with a simple sprayer and rinse em out real good - air dry - ready. never had a problem this way and like i said - i feel confident with the sanatization properties of bleach. just make sure you rinse well.
 

Born Brewing Co.

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Bottling is a love-hate relationship. I love to bottle because I am about 2 weeks or so from drinking my sweet creation. However, I hate bottling because of the bottle sanitizing and time. Lately, my wife has started to help on bottling night. I am happy to have her help, and if she shows the little bit of interest in my hobby that is cool. We basically rinse bottles (inside and out) , dunk in No-Rinse, and hang on tree. We then rack to bottling bucket. By the time racking is done, the bottles are dry on the tree. In all it takes us about 20 minutes to clean and sanitize 50 or so bottles.
 

cygnus128

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Yeah, I think the dishwasher is fine as long as it holds the bottles above 170 degrees (Fahrenheit) for > 5 minutes (which shouldn't be a problem for most dishwashers. I would recommend that anbody who uses their dishwasher, put a thermometer in with a cycle and check the ambient temp during the heated dry cycle.

That having been said my process is:

1) Make sure the bottles are completely clean.
2) Put bottles through a full detergent-less cycle in the dishwasher for 2-3 cycles (I guess mostly just to get any lingering soap/beer residue out of them).
3) Sanitize them using potassium metabisulfate just before bottling.
 

SpinDance

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Oh good, so it sounds like I don't need to worry about the wine & beer I've already done. I'm very careful about my own bottles, and I've learned to carefully clean any I get from other people. Nothing worse than thinking you've got a clean bottle only to look at it in the sunlight and realize there's some spot of some nasty thing inside it! Now if I've been given something doesn't come clean nicely I just toss it.

I do like using dishwasher soap to soak stuff out, though. It will clean about anything! I don't like using bleach solution because I know myself too well. I'll splash some of it on my clothes and end up with splotches all over myself. I like the sanitizing powders available, they're really convenient.
 

bikebryan

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cygnus128 said:
Yeah, I think the dishwasher is fine as long as it holds the bottles above 170 degrees (Fahrenheit) for > 5 minutes (which shouldn't be a problem for most dishwashers. I would recommend that anbody who uses their dishwasher, put a thermometer in with a cycle and check the ambient temp during the heated dry cycle.

That having been said my process is:

1) Make sure the bottles are completely clean.
2) Put bottles through a full detergent-less cycle in the dishwasher for 2-3 cycles (I guess mostly just to get any lingering soap/beer residue out of them).
3) Sanitize them using potassium metabisulfate just before bottling.
Why even bother with the dishwasher if you are going to sanitize them with potassium metabisulfate anyway?
 
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bikebryan said:
Why even bother with the dishwasher if you are going to sanitize them with potassium metabisulfate anyway?
I was thinking similar... When I first started I was doing way too much work making sure they're sanitized. Won't go into what I used to do but now I just put them away clean (after a soak in bleach 2oz to 5g water after consumed). When I'm ready to use them I'll soak them in iodophor for about 1 min; flip them upside down in my clean/sanitizer sprayed dishwasher. Then rack the beer and start bottling.
 
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